Vegetable Virtuosity: Recipes

These first two recipes are adapted from one of my favorite vegetable cookbooks, Roger Verge’s “Vegetables in the French Style.”

Carrots with Chive Cream Sauce

    Serves four to six.
8 to 10 medium carrots (13/4 lbs. total)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Small bunch of chives, finely minced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. heavy cream

    Peel and julienne carrots. Wash, drain, and dry. Put carrots in saucepan with butter, sugar, pinch of salt, nutmeg, and about two cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Uncover and raise the heat, completely reduce the cooking liquid.
    Add lemon juice to carrots and bring to boil. Add cream and cook for one to two minutes. Check for seasoning, turn onto a heated vegetable dish, and sprinkle with the chopped chives.

Chayote and Sweet Potatoes Stewed With Coconut and Curry

    Serves four.
1 medium onion
2 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
2 firm tomatoes (that won’t be a problem this time of year!)
2 chayote (10 oz. total)
3 large sweet potatoes (11/4 lbs. total)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. cardamom seeds
2 whole cloves
2 Tbsp. mild curry powder
11/4 cups chicken stock

    Peel and chop onion. Sauté in heavy saucepan or casserole over low heat with the butter. When lightly golden, set aside in the saucepan.
    In a separate saucepan bring cream and coconut to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Then strain, pushing down on coconut solids to get as much flavor extracted as possible.
    Cut tomatoes in half crosswise, squeeze out seeds, then cut into large cubes.
    Peel chayote and remove seeds, then cut lengthwise into slices. Do the same with the sweet potatoes. Blanch both for four minutes, then drain, but do not cool.
    Peel and crush garlic and add it to the onions in the saucepan. Add tomatoes, cardamom, cloves, and curry powder. Stir well, then add coconut flavored cream.
    Put saucepan over medium heat, then add chayote and sweet potatoes. Add chicken stock and simmer about 20 minutes over low heat. Check occasionally to make sure vegetables are not sticking to pan. Serve in warmed vegetable dish.

Celeri Remoulade

    This recipe couldn’t be easier. It is from my favorite French cookbook, Patricia Wells’s “Bistro Cooking.” Use the celery root as soon as it is grated, otherwise it will start to turn brown. Use a good, hot Dijon mustard.

    Serves four to six.
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, or to taste
1 cup creme fraiche (to make this lighter, I use low-fat Greek yogurt)
Salt and pepper
1 celery root, about 1 lb.

    In large mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, mustard, and creme fraiche or yogurt, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning.
    Quarter the celery root and peel it. Grate coarsely, in a food processor or on a Mouli grater. Immediately add it to the mustard sauce and toss to coat. Season to taste, Serve as a first course.